The second month of winter for us back in Australia and the weather cooled off enough for it to snow again! Although not enough to coat the lawns and it disappeared within a short time. We did have a number of sunny, warmer days though, and we took advantage of that by getting outside and going for a few family walks. I must say, Australian winters no longer feel cold when you've lived in Canada before!
The whole Covid thing is starting to rear its head again, and the greater Sydney area has been in lockdown since the start of July. Cases are nowhere near as high as many other countries and neither is our vaccination rate. There were a few cases that started in Bondi, a suburb in eastern Sydney, which escalated to over 1,500 by the end of the month.
The annoying part is we have family that live on the central coast, which is included in the Sydney lockdown, and they weren't able to travel for the school holidays to visit us. Alec and Brydie are both teachers so they were forced to stay at home instead of zipping away for two weeks. We were looking forward to catching up with them again but those plans didn't work out.
We live in central west New South Wales in the town of Orange, so we weren't immediately impacted by the Sydney lockdown, but we did have a snap one week lockdown from the 21st to 28th of July due a rogue Covid positive driver passing through our town. Luckily we are now out of lockdown, for now.
During the school holidays, before our snap lockdown, we were able to enjoy some family time. The first week we spent in our hometown of Cobar for my grandfather's funeral that I mentioned in last month's update. The second week we spent at home in Orange and just chilled out at home. I've been working from home since the Sydney lockdown started, so it's been good to be around the family throughout the day.
We had a very special pre-birthday celebration event in the third week of July, for my darling wife Allanah. Big milestone this year as she turns 30!!! Her birthday is early August, however her mother planned a Sunday lunch event at a beautiful local winery here in Orange. We had family come from Dubbo, Cobar and Murrumbateman to help us celebrate. It was a great day with stellar food and of course a few good wines.
It's lucky we had the event when we did, as we went in lockdown just 3 days after. The majority of the rest of July was spent being stuck at home, although the kids were able to go to school. It's funny how kids can't get or spread Covid, right?!
For Allanah's actual birthday we zipped away to the Hunter Valley region for a long weekend at the end of July. We decided to head back to the same location where we got married back in 2017, a beautiful spot called the Chateau Elan (look it up, it's magical!). It was just us two and the kids spent the weekend with their Ma down in Murrumbateman.
Our weekend was filled with beautiful cafe's, relaxing spa treatments, a hit of golf, a cocktail masterclass, and delicious dinners. Even though it was technically for Allanah's birthday, I had a bloody brilliant time as well!
Some happy snaps of the wonderful weekend.
After months and months of zero savings and a lot of spending, we're back into the positives for our savings rate! We hit a 61% post tax savings rate for July. Pretty pumped with that!
My income was much higher this month due to a one-off deposit for reimbursement of the fees we paid for the sale of our house in Canada. That was a fair chunk of change in addition to my regular salary. This was the main reason for our savings rate being so high.
NET WORTH SNAPSHOT
I'm pleased to report another good month for our net worth. Starting the climb back up to where we were at the start of the year. This month we saw an increase of $21k, primarily driven from the big cash deposit i mentioned above in the savings update, and investment contributions.
We're still contributing $2k each month to our SelfWealth account and $100 to the CoinSpot crypto account. So far this year we've invested $18k through the SelfWealth account and about $800 into the crypto portfolio.
I only invest in 3 ETFs in our SelfWealth account that diversifies us across the world, with very low expense ratios. I currently hold A200, IVV and VEU. A200 is an ETF that covers the top 200 companies in Australia by market cap. IVV is the S&P500 in the US. VEU is the rest of the developed world excluding America. Global diversification in 3 ETFs!
I'm also contributing an extra 5% into my Superannuation account to take me close to the concessional cap of $27,500 for the year. I have a bit of contribution room I can use to "catch up" from previous years when I didn't max out my contributions so that could be a strategy I use to further boost the retirement growth.
We do plan to start saving for a house deposit in the near future so I'll have to decide if we maintain our investment contributions, or reduce them a bit in favour of a faster deposit savings. Something for us to think about.
We're excited to see our savings and net worth bump back up. I don't think it will jump up that high again in August as we have to pay the remainder of our couch when it gets delivered and also a dining room table we're having made for us by a good friend.
Hopefully Covid goes away soon and we stop going into lockdowns before the warmer weather arrives. The silver lining is that if we can't go anywhere we can't spend anything! But life is about living and we need to have balance in order to make this journey enjoyable. I mean, what's the point of saving and investing aggressively if you don't have a little fun along the way?!
That's all she wrote for this month. Until next time, stay safe and keep growing your wealth!
Blake - FIRE with a family